(en) Update: Nov 10 Day of Action for Ken Saro-Wiwa

Free Nigeria Movement [Public Relations] (PR@FreeNigeria.org)
Sun, 09 Nov 1997 18:05:09 +0000

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Global Venues of Action (in no particular order). If you are having an activity in your area, please send notification to the FNM at PR@FreeNigeria.org for inclusion in an upcoming update.

Please include the following information: Time, Venue, Contact Person, Other info (i.e. items to bring). If information about your area is not included, please get in touch and we shall do our best to help you.

(Please note that the FNM cannot vouch for the accuracy of the infromation here, as the contact people are the ones to get more detailed information from):

* Burlington, Vermont: Noon, Shell station on the corner of Dorset and Williston in South Burlington. Food will be served, and African drumming (and dancing) will be used to entertain. Contact: Gina M. Capossela at gcaposse@zoo.uvm.edu.

*Madison, WI: Shell Station on Univ. Ave on Nov. 10th we are planning a much larger rush-hour picket at the aforementioned Shell station, hopefully with media coverage and later a candlelight vigil. Contact: John E. Peck at jepeck@students.wisc.edu .

*On Monday, November 10th, gathering at the Shell station at BURRARD and DAVIE streets in downtown Vancouver for a vigil ceremony in memory of the Ogoni Nine. The vigil ceremony will be between 4-6pm. Contact: Jaggi Singh, tel: (604) 873-8554 e-mail: ogoni@vcn.bc.ca

*Mon., Nov. 10, a literary reading of the works of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Nigerian writers. Local authors and performers Adelia Parker (poet and photographer), Ron Himes (founder and director of the St. Louis Black Repertory Theater Company), Yereba Kina (Ogoni journalist) and Lisa Ray (founder and director of Fundisha, an organization which teaches West African culture to school children) will read at 7:30 pm at Afrocentric Books and Cafe, 8081 Olive Blvd. Contact: contact Mira Tanna, American Friends Service Committee, (314) 862-5773.

*Students at Truman University in Kirksville are planning on a literary reading of the works of Ken Saro-Wiwa on November 10, 1997, to mark the second anniversary of the execution of Ken and 8 other Ogoni activists. For more information, contact Kerri Bowes at660-665-9083 or John Halski at 660-785-5514.

*London: Demonstrations at: Shell Centre, Waterloo, SE1 at 1pm Nigerian High . Commission, Northumberland Avenue, WC@ - 2pm Monday November 10th, 1997. Contact: MOSOP Tel: 0181 563 8614 , Fax: 0181 563 8615.

*Washington DC: We'll meet at Shell Oil's lobbying headquarters (14th & I St., NW) at 5:00pm then walk as a group to the Nigerian Embassy on 16th Street. Once at the embassy the Sierra Club and others will announce our campaign to rename the street next to the Nigerian Embassy, "Ken Saro-Wiwa Place". CANDLES WILL BE PROVIDED, BUT PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN IF YOU CAN. Contact: For more information, contact Stephen Mills at (202) 675-6691, or e-mail stephen.mills@sierraclub.org.

*Indianapolis, IN: 4:30pm-6pm, Shell Oil Station at 62nd Street near Glendale (6201 N.Keystone Ave). Meet at the Station at 4:30pm or at Atherton Union, Butler University at 4pm, from where picketters shall proceed to the Shell Oil Station. Contact DanIyan@ix.netcom.com

*San Francisco, CA: Justin Herman Plaza at 11:30 am, from where a march to Shell corner (on Battery and Bush St.) would take place. There will be an appearance of various Nigerian masquerades. Contact: Steve Kretzman (510) 705-8981, Tunde Okorodudu (510) 407-1717

*Toronto, Canada: There will also be a Shell picket at 1077 Yonge Street (South of St. Clair) in Toronto on 10 November, and MOSOP Canada will launch its website at www.mosopcanada.org. Contact MOSOP Canada at tel: 416 9660910

*Amnesty International at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan will be hosting an evening event on November 10th to commemorate the anniversary of Saro-Wiwa's death. We will be discussing the situation in Nigeria, reading some of his work, and holding a candle-light vigil. All interested should meet in the Northwestern Room of the MSU Union at 7:30pm on Monday, November 10th. Contact: amnesty@pilot.msu.edu

*Who: Pioneer Valley Committee for Human Rights & Democracy in Nigeria What: Holding vigil and demonstration and handing out literature to motorists When: November 10, 4 to 5 p.m. Where: In front of large Shell station on Route 9 in Hadley, between Northampton and Amherst Contact person: Nancy Talanian, telephone 413-665-4561

------- November 10th, "Day of Action in Remembrance of Ken Saro-Wiwa"

This posting contains: 1)Call to action 2)A brief history of the Nigerian Crisis

November 10th, 1997 marks the second year anniversary of the execution of Nigerian environmental activist Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa (Ken Saro-Wiwa) and eight other environmental activists by the General Sanni Abacha led illegal military regime which currently holds Nigeria and its over 100 million people hostage through the barrel of the gun.

To mark this anniversary, the Free Nigeria Movement (FNM) is calling on supporters of justice, freedom and environmental rights worldwide to join thousands of Free Nigeria activists by taking action to make sure Ken Saro-Wiwa did not die in vain.

Specifically, on that day we ask you to undertake any and/or all of the following actions:

1. Picket a Shell Oil gas station or office in your locality. 2. Write a letter to Shell Oil in your country condemning their international environmental and human rights atrocities and asking them to pull out from Nigeria, also let them know that you "Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa".. 3. Write a letter to your elected official (Local, State and/or National) calling for an embargo of Nigerian products and a divestment/selective purchasing law against the illegal Nigerian military dictatorship. 4. Collect petition signatures against Shell Oils exploitation and environmental degradation of Nigeria and other less developed countries (Shell Oil is a global monster). 5. Conduct an educational session on the activities of Shell Oil in Nigeria and other less developed countries, and show why a boycott of Shell products and services is necessary.

The Story:

Ken Saro-Wiwa was at the time of his execution the President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), and had succeed in mobilizing the people of the Niger Delta in general and the Ogoni indigenous people of Nigeria in particular into actively pursuing their environmental rights in the face of overwhelming pressure from Shell Oil and the illegal military regime led by General Sanni Abacha which had taken Nigeria hostage on November 17th, 1993.

Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other executed activists were taken before an illegal tribunal set up by the illegitimate and morally repugnant military regime headed by General Sanni Abacha, and tried on trumped-up murder charges. As was expected, they were found guilty and executed by hanging within days of the passing of the "judgment". Even though the military regime which executed Ken and the eight others is an illegitimate one, having no constitutional authority to rule, the fact that it did not even give Ken and the eight others the chance to appeal their sentences to any quarters beyond popular opinion proved beyond reasonable doubt that the regime was more interested in letting Shell Oil continue drilling Nigeria's oil than in seeing citizens of Nigeria get justice no matter how flawed.

Shell Oil came into Nigeria in the 1930s, and since that time has extracted close to US$30 billion from Ogoni alone (starting in 1958). Taking into consideration the fact that Ogoniland produces only 3% of Nigeria's oil, and that Shell Oil extracts 50% of Nigeria's total oil, Shell oil has obviously made billions from Nigeria's crude oil. Unfortunately, the communities where Shell Oil extracts their oil from are virtual war zones, with the indigenous people displaced if lucky or murdered (directly or indirectly) if unlucky. Apart from using the barest minimum environmental safety precautions and standards, Shell Oil provides arms and ammunition to the Nigerian military regime to use against the indigenous people who dare to speak up for their community and environmental rights. Shell Oil also provides financial incentive and compensation to the members of the Nigerian military in exchange for their continued usurpation of national democratic institutions and principles. A good example of this is the present illegal military dictator, General Sanni Abacha, who acts more in the interest of Shell Oil than in the interest of the great majority of the Nigerian people, in whose name he claims to rule.

Sanni Abacha apart from ordering the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa is also responsible for placing the democratically duly-elected and legitimate President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Moshood Abiola in detention in solitary confnement and without trial since June 1994, the same Abacha is also responsible for disbanding all democratic structures, and imprisoning, intimidating, exiling, or murdering all the other duly elected Represetatives of the Nigerian people from the local government level to the national level.

The Free Nigeria Movement is of the belief that only by getting Shell Oil and the other multinational corporations (MNCs) which give the illegal regime fincancial support, can the path to Nigeria's freedom truly be established. With Nigeria's economy depending on oil revenue for over 80% of its foreign income earnings, and Shell Oil being responsible for drilling over 50% of Nigeria's total oil output, it is not difficult to see the connection between the most brutal regime in Africa today and probably the most irresponsible MNC on the face of the earth today.

The only way we can cut the connection between this two partners of convinienece is by using popular pressure to embarass Shell into divesting out of Nigeria from abroad. Considering the fact that Shell Oil has most of its retail and wholesale sales outside Nigeria, it is apparently clear that Shell's activities in Nigeria are a means to an end (product sales outside Nigeria), and not an end to a means. So please let us join together in making the end of Shell's means very unviable by putting consumer pressure on the company, to pull out of Nigeria in particular (till the democratically elected governement of President Abiola is restored, and decides on what environmental standards Shell Oil would be allowed to drill Oil in Nigeria, that is if Shell is invited back at all), and to improve its environmental practises worldwide in general.

For more information on the day of action, sample petitions, letters and information on Shell Oil in Nigeria, visit the Website of the Free Nigeria Movement at http://www.FreeNigeria.org or send an email to the FNM at PR@FreeNigeria.org.

You can also send all signed and completed petitions and letters to the Free Nigeria Movement at P.O. Box 441395, Indianapolis, IN 46244 for onward transmission to Shell Oil.

No to Shell Oil's environmental degradation and corporate irresponsibility! Long Live Ken Saro-Wiwa, Long Live the Free Nigeria Movement, Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

On behalf of the Free Nigeria Movement,

Nasiru Ikharo National Information Secretary, FNM


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